It was more than 20 years ago that the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Pfizer Canada Inc. joined forces and created a unique partnership that is still strong, innovative and getting better all the time.
As the team’s longest-standing corporate sponsor, Pfizer Canada has played an integral role in helping expand the Paralympic movement in Canada, part of a wider global movement that uses sports to promote health, advocacy and opportunities for people with a disability.
A reception in Ottawa yesterday (June 8) to celebrate the renewal of the partnership brought together Members of Parliament, Paralympic athletes and representatives from Pfizer Canada Inc. and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
“I can truly say that the continuous investment from Pfizer Canada has been a backbone to the growth and advancement of the Paralympic movement in Canada that has taken place over the last 20 years,” said Marc-André Fabien, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “We look forward to the years ahead, working together to help Canada realize its potential as the top Paralympic nation in the world.”
Pfizer Canada president John Helou spoke of his admiration for Paralympic athletes and the impact that the partnership has on all people with a disability, even beyond the medals.
“The way Paralympic athletes beat incredible odds and achieve success, is admirable,” said Helou. “All of us at Pfizer Canada are thrilled that we can continue to support the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the amazing Paralympic athletes. We know many more memorable and inspiring moments await us on this continued journey together.”
A PROUD HISTORY
The first agreement between Pfizer Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee was signed on August 9, 1996 just a few weeks before the Paralympic Games in Atlanta, helping fund the team to travel to the Games.
Another defining moment in the partnership was four years later heading into Sydney 2000. Again, the Canadian Paralympic Team was short on funds to cover their travel costs to the Paralympic Games. Once again, Pfizer Canada stepped up with a contribution to ensure that athletes and coaches could attend the Games in Sydney.
Those Games launched an incredible career for Canadian Para swimming star Benoit Huot. He won three gold and three silver medals in Sydney, en route to a grand total of 20 so far at the Games.
“That, for me, was a very emotional and special gesture,’’ said Huot, who was on hand at yesterday’s event as emcee. ‘’We were able to focus on our performance and bringing home medals.’’
Those types of heartwarming stories are what make the partnership so lasting. There is no doubt that without Pfizer Canada’s commitment and devotion, a day in the life would not be the same for Canada’s Para athletes. Thank you, Pfizer!